Hakuba Skiing, Japan
Hakuba is a small town in Nagano Prefecture of Japan which is renowned for its skiing. The Hakuba Valley comprises of ten ski resorts and provides visitors with greater skiing acreage and overall vertical rise than anywhere in Japan. Bountiful snow falls and outstanding powder conditions bring ever growing numbers of skiers and snowboarders from around the globe to Hakuba. For me, the excellent snow conditions are part of the reason I once again headed to Hakuba for my biennial ski trip. There is also the wonderful friendliness, efficiency and politeness of the local people. Finally, I was desperate to revisit the snow monkey park at Jigokudani, Yamanouchi, Nagano.
Following my last visit to Japan I posted a number photos of skiing and the surrounding scenery. I have decided that on this occasion I will instead devote my post to the magical snow monkeys.
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park
The Jigokudani Park is in the Shimotakai District of Nagano Prefecture and is home to Japanese Macaques monkeys. The monkeys is this area are unique in that they bathe in the parks hot springs during the winter months as a means of keeping themselves warm. The following are just a few of the photos I took of these amazing animals.
Japanese Snow Monkeys
Female Macaques are very protective of their young. They typically give birth every other year, producing one baby at a time and around ten in a life-time.
Japanese Macaque Snow Monkey
Wild macaques exist on three of Japan’s four main islands but the Jigokudani Snow Monkeys are the only troop that habitually bathe in thermal springs. The hot water of the springs does not play a role in the survival of the monkeys as their fur is sufficiently thick to keep them warm. Hence, it appears they bathe purely for pleasure purposes.